FORMIDABLE FODEN'S - Full coverage from the 2021 National Brass Band Championships

Issue 6112

HOW TO IMPRESS - Amos Miller on flourishing in a conservatoire audition

COMPOSER CAST - Liz Lane on her fascinating early musical life

DEPARTURE - Cornet star Kirsty Abbotts leaves Carlton Main

Willebroek Academy off to a flying start

Monday 30 August, 2021

More than 50 enthusiastic musicians descended on the Belgian town of Lier, Antwerp, recently for a packed few days of music making.

The first Brass Band Willebroek Academy saw 51 participants, aged between eight and 63, gather at the arts campus of the Municipal Academy of Music, Drama and Dance where they were placed into two different ensembles, the Willebroek Academy Band and the Willebroek Academy Juniors. Players took part in band rehearsals, individual lessons and various sessions with principal players of Brass Band Willebroek, with plenty of time left for social activities.

The talent and ambition of the participants soon became apparent and after only a day and a half of rehearsals, there was a concert. A full programme was played in Sint-Idesbald, on the Belgian coast, where both bands gave fine accounts.

After that concert, the Willebroek Academy Band started preparing Sparke’s Tallis Variations, much to the delight of band members, who enjoyed working under conductor, Frans Violet. Willebroek Academy Juniors, meanwhile, surged forward under the leadership of Toon Rutten.

Proceedings drew to a close with a spectacular closing concert Friday, August 13, at which the two bands, and the percussion ensemble conducted by Kelly Helsen, played for a sold-out hall.

Plans are now underway for another Brass Band Willebroek Academy. It id due to run from July 31 until August 5, 2022.